Friday, March 16, 2018

Nickelodeon Working on 'Clarissa Explains It All' Reboot Starring Melissa Joan Hart

The Viacom-owned network is in early talks with the actor and original series creator Mitchell Kriegman for the revival!


Nickelodeon is rebooting another one of its '90s hits.

The Viacom-owned cable network is in early discussions to reboot the networks beloved '90s comedy series Clarissa Explains It All, sources have told The Hollywood Reporter.

The reboot would see former star Melissa Joan Hart reprise her role as Clarissa Darling, only this time, she would play the mother of the family. Series creator Mitchell Kriegman is also in talks to return to write and executive produce. Hart will also exec produce via her Hartbreak Films banner, which she runs with her mother, TV producer Paula Hart. Nickelodeon declined comment as deals with both Hart and Kriegman are still being finalized. The project, sources say, is in early development at Nickelodeon.


The original series ran for five seasons (65 episodes) on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1994 and starred Hart as Clarissa, a teenager who spoke directly to the audience, breaking the fourth wall, as she dealt with problems including school, boys and family. Clarissa was joined by her best friend Sam (Sean O’Neal), annoying little brother Ferguson (Jason Zimbler), and her loving parents and Janet (Elizabeth Hess) and Marshall (Joe O'Connor). The series was credited with being Nick's first with a female lead, so bringing it back now in the era of women's empowerment in entertainment is especially poignant. Its success led to other female-fronted series including The Secret World of Alex Mack and more. Clarissa Explains It All was filmed at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

It's currently unknown who from Darling's original family will stick around for the reboot — but it would be interesting to see how she and her brother Fergwad bicker as adults.

Famous guest stars during the shows inital run included Michelle Trachtenberg (The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Harriet The Spy) as Elsie Soaperstein, a spoiled kid whom Clarissa must babysit, and James Van Der Beek cropped up as a boy pursuing Clarissa's alter ego Jade in Season 5, and even gave Hart her first on-screen kiss.

Kriegman revisited the series in 2015 with a novel, Things I Can't Explain, which served as a sequel to the series and followed Clarissa, now in her late 20s, trying to navigate life as an adult.

In a February interview with THR about her work directing ABC's The Goldbergs, Hart — who went on to star in ABC's Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, which has also aired on Nickelodeon channels around the world — said she thought Clarissa would be prime to be rebooted as Netflix is doing its own, dark take on Sabrina.


"I like the way we left Sabrina. I think Sabrina ended on a really great note, and I don't think you want to go back and explore that. At the same time, I think Clarissa ended on a note that could be explored again, because it didn't really have an ending — it sort of ended," she said.

When Clarissa Explains It All ended, a spinoff titled Clarissa Now was developed for CBS in 1995, but was not picked up to series. The show would've followed Clarissa interning at a newspaper in New York City. The pilot later aired on Nickelodeon

For Nickelodeon, the decision to reboot Clarissa comes as the Viacom cable network recently plans to revive Blues Clues, handing out a 20-episode order for the animated preschool hit with a live-action host. The kids-focused cable network has been one of Viacom's most stable brands. While its ratings were flat this past year, competitors including Disney Channel saw a 24 percent drop in total viewers last year.

In May 2017, Hart spoke to Yahoo! about the possibility of reprising her role in Clarissa Explains It All. She revealed, "There is a little talk about Clarissa right now, possibly doing a special or something." Keeping everything crossed!

Reboots remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets look for proven IP in a bid to cut through a cluttered landscape expected to top 520 scripted originals this year. Key to them is having the original producers attached, which Clarissa does with Kriegman. In addition to Clarissa, Nickelodeon recently revived beloved '90s Nicktoon Hey Arnold! for "The Jungle Movie", and has upcoming TV movies based on two more of the networks iconic properties: Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling and Invader ZIM.

Hart is represented by APA and Gilbertson Entertainment, and Kriegman is repped by APA.

Hart's other credits include the sitcom Melissa & Joey opposite Joey Lawrence and the 1999 film Drive Me Crazy with Adrian Grenier. She also appeared in shows like Boy Meets World, Law & Order: SVU, Robot Chicken and even competed on the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars. Hart also appeared in Britney Spears' music video for "(You Drive Me) Crazy," which was also featured on the Drive Me Crazy soundtrack.

Following Clarissa, Kriegman created the children's show Bear in the Big Blue House, which aired for five seasons between 1997 and 2006, including a three-year hiatus, and also created 15 episodes of It's A Big Big World spanning 2011 and 2012.

The news that Nickelodeon is planning to revive Clarissa Explains It All follows the report earlier this year that Sister, Sister will also return.

Watch all your '90s Nickelodeon favorites on NickSplat, your late-night destination for your favorite childhood Nickelodeon cartoons and live-action shows! NickSplat doesn't question football-shaped heads, but embrace them - along with Reptar bars, a Big Ear of Corn, orange soda, and even slime for Pete (and Pete's) sake. Make your slime-covered Nickelodeon childhood dreams come true every night at 11 PM ET/PT, only on TeenNick USA! #NickSplat!

More Nick: Nickelodeon Hints That 'Hey Arnold!' Season 6 May Be In The Works!

H/T: TheWrap; Additional source: TV Line, TV Guide, Wikipedia, E! News, Marie Claire, The Tracking Board, Bustle, Refinery29, NME.com.
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